Active Listening for Web-Demos

Digital Body Language for Online-Demos and Sales – #1 Active Listening

Actively listening to your clients is one of the easiest and most powerful ways to build trust and empathy with your clients.

But in remote demo scenarios, it is significantly harder to replicate the interpersonal connection of any face-to-face meeting.

And as a result, we are often missing the cues that each of us sends – either consciously or unconsciously to demonstrate engagement, agreement or commitment.

This is the first part of a series where I’m going to talk about digital body language to boost your web demo success rate.

Use Minimal Encouragers to build trust

The easiest way to show someone you are listening is through the use of minimal encouragers.

This can include nodding your head, leaning forward or watching straight into your opponent’s eyes.

But this also involves little sounds like ‚Yes‘, ‚Uhuh‘ and ‚Okay‘.

While these words may seem insignificant, they are actually the glue that holds conversations together.

Imagine a presentation where you don’t get any feedback or cues from your audience.

Feels weird and uncomfortable, doesn’t it?

The issue with those little phrases is that modern meeting tools are almost too good at cancelling insignificant background noise.

And your minimal encouragers can easily be interpreted as such.

Hence, it is even more important to use your body language to encourage your customer.

I think I don’t have to mention the fact that the active usage of your webcam is a prerequisite to do so.

To sum up: make active eye contact with your client when they are talking to you. Which means looking straight at your camera and not at your video-conferencing window.

Ideally, your camera is supposed to be on your eye level, so it feels as natural as possible for your audience to engage with you.

I actually put a smiley sticker next to my webcam to remind me where to look at.

Lastly, nod your head when your client is making a point.

And lean towards the camera every once in a while to demonstrate you are paying full attention.

Reflect on what you have heard during your web-demo

The second opportunity to listen actively is by reflecting on what you have heard.

It is a way of mirroring your client by repeating the last few words they have said to show you are listening and engaged.

There is a difference between mirroring and paraphrasing what you have just heard.

Mirroring is an effective tool if your client is very emotional and encourages them to keep talking.

If someone says ‚I’m so annoyed that it is taking our current provider forever to fix any bugs – usually a months or two.‘, you can simply respond with „It takes them a month or two?‘ by putting some surprise in your voice.

This way of mirroring builds empathy and affiliation and keeps the conversation going.

If you want to demonstrate to your client that you truly understand their perspective, you can paraphrase what was said.

Rather than repeating the sentence, you are restating someone’s perspective using your own words.

Label Emotions to Boost Empathy and Sales

Last but not least, labeling emotions is a powerful way of empathising with your client.

Understanding your client’s underlying emotions is critical to make them change.

And labeling emotions helps you to identify the feelings that are driving your client.

Statements such as ‚You sound angry‘ or ‚You seem to be frustrated‘ help you to uncover the underlying issue and ‚click‘ with your clients.

And if you are wrong, your client’s response will help you to get closer to the root cause.

To summarize this post:

Actively listening to your clients is key to establishing trust and building empathy during your demos.

Use minimal encouragers to provide little clues that you are listening to them.

Mirror or paraphrase their words to keep the discussion going and demonstrate you are with them.

And try to label emotions to identify the underlying issue that is driving your client.

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